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    NREL: The Nerve Center for Renewable Research

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    energynow

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    George Douglas of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory tells Susan McGinnis about the different research projects that NREL scientists are working on and discusses Gov. Bill Ritter's performance on energy issues. Douglas shows Susan NREL's science and technology facility. He says it's deigned to help solar cell makers improve the efficiency of their cells so that they convert more sunlight into electricity, thereby decreasing the cost. NREL is the Department of Energy's primary research center for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Its biggest program is in the national center for photovoltaics. The next largest is the biomass energy program, research into turning nonedible plant matter into liquid fuel, The third largest area of research is in home energy efficiency. NREL has been in Colorado for more than 30 years, Douglas says one of the best things about being in Colorado is that it's conducive to studying solar, wind and plant material that can be converted into fuel. The state has an abundance of those materials. The wide variety of traditional fossil fuels in Colorado also makes it possible to study how different forms of energy can be integrated. Douglas says Ritter has been instrumental in promoting both renewable energy and traditional fossil fuels during his term. He calls Ritter a champion of a consortium among NREL and the three state research universities -- the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado -- examining renewable energy and the new energy economy. It has resulted in the research divisions of several solar and wind companies locating along Colorado's front range. He says renewable energy has been a priority of the state during Ritter's term and he has made championing green energy and the new energy economy a priority. He says green energy has moved into the forefront of clean energy development.